A ferry silly boycott
Maritime workers refuse to sail on ‘ridiculous’ new vessel
MARITIME workers are refusing to man a new ferry with the “ridiculous” name of Ferry McFerryface.
The name was chosen by public poll and Transport Minister Andrew Constance yesterday branded the union workers as “a bunch of spoilsports”.
Maritime Union of Australia Sydney branch assistant secretary Paul Garrett said ferry staff would boycott the new vessel, which is due to start service on November 26, saying the name was an “insult” that will last for decades.
“Members don’t want to crew the vessel,” he said. “It’s an insult to the integrity and heritage of Sydney Ferries, it undermines the professionalism and pride of the fleet.
“This is not a five-minute internet sensation — this name has to be around for 20, 30, 40 years. This vessel will be left alongside the wharf until further notice.”
Mr Garrett said maritime staff would only crew the vessel if it was renamed, saying: “Members will leave that vessel alone, we won’t work it. Give it a proper name and we’ll work it. Give it a stupid name and it can stay at the shipyard.”
Transport for NSW received more than 15,000 suggestions in the Name Your Ferry competition.
Mr Constance defended the chosen name, arguing “the community has spoken”.
“Sydney voted for this name, and we have listened,” the minister said.
“The union are just a bunch of spoilsports for thousands of kids looking to hop on board.”
Mr Constance declared that the union workers “don’t run this state” and criticised officials for not raising the issue with him earlier.
“They don’t get to bully me,” he said. “They could have come to me well before now.”
Mr Garrett said about 350 members of the union work on the ferries and had already fielded jokes from the public about the next ferry being called “McNugget”.
“Our members have a sense of humour but this is beyond a joke. Ferries are named after certain geographic locations or prominent people.”
While some had pointed to the UK example of a vessel being named Boaty McBoatface, he said in the end that name was not accepted.
Artist impression of the newly named Sydney ferry.